THE SPIRE tell their own story
On Saturday 20 July, Poole welcomed the Rev Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference, who came to speak at a special celebration service to mark the official opening of The Spire in Poole High Street.
Ten years ago, five local Methodist congregations in Poole decided to pool their resources and move forward in faith together. Even the most visionary among them would have struggled to imagine what is now happening at The Spire. The well-equipped building right on the High Street provides a home for many local charities and community groups serving the people of Poole. Wesley’s Café, opening onto the High Street, is a welcoming and accessible meeting point for people from all backgrounds. The magnificent Rose Hall is used for worship, concerts and much more. Following many years of fundraising and building work, all are now in full use, welcoming all-comers in the name of Christ and touching the lives of so many people.
When the project was still in the planning stage, it was clear that there was a great need in the centre of Poole for somewhere that welcomed all-comers and offered support to people with many complex needs. The congregation bravely stepped out in faith, believing that their calling was to serve those around them in the name of Christ. What couldn’t possibly be known was quite how important The Spire would become to so many people.
The congregation had adopted as its vision ‘Loving God, Following Jesus, Serving Community’. They believed that their calling was to have a prayerful worshipping congregation as the hub of a community that was aching for the Good News of Jesus. They knew that they couldn’t deliver on their own all the services that it was becoming obvious were needed. After much prayer and wrestling with the question, they were led to the idea of working through a partnership model. They began working with partner bodies, charities, not-for-profit organisations and public bodies who would stand beside them in offering support to their community.
Even though this was a time to celebrate the completion of a building and dedicate it in God’s service, Dr Glasson reminded those present that the Church is not confined by bricks and mortar. By opening themselves up in service to the community around them, the worshipping congregation at The Spire would be following the example of Jesus in standing side-by-side with the bruised and the vulnerable, the excluded and the neglected to provide a safe space where people could come and know that God loves them. As part of the celebrations a specially-made cake was cut by Dr Glasson and the Mayor of Poole, Marion Le Poidevin, who is a member of the congregation and a volunteer at The Spire. Afterwards the cake was shared.
The Methodist Church, locally and nationally, has supported the work at The Spire because it is excited by what The Spire says about serving others. The Rev Dr Andrew Wood, Chair of the Southampton District, said It has been a joy to watch the progress of the work at The Spire in Poole. Now that the building is finished, they have exciting times ahead as they meet together to worship and work together to share God's love with the community around them. It has been a privilege to be able to support them on their journey so far, and I want to assure them of the continuing support and prayers of Methodists throughout the Southampton District as we travel with them in the months and years ahead.